As data-driven marketers, we spend a lot of time planning out our marketing campaigns. We build audience personas to understand who our target customers are, then we use those insights to build an accurate and efficient media plan. From there, we use that plan to make smart media buys that help us reach those customers and drive them down the conversion funnel. 

If you are a local advertiser in Dallas or Chicago (or anywhere for that matter) targeting your local community, you may be confused if you see Kansas showing up as a high-ranking geo center in your Google Analytics. And if that’s the case, you aren’t alone. 

Who are all these visitors from Kansas? 

The short answer is, these site visitors aren’t actually in Kansas. They could be anywhere in the US, but they aren’t sharing their location. 

When Google can’t identify an exact location, most likely because the user has adjusted their privacy settings to hide their exact location, Google defaults to the center of the map. And in this case, that means Kansas, which is home to the geographic center of the lower 48 states. So these web visitors aren’t really in Kansas, but Google can’t really tell where exactly they are. 

When a geolocation cannot be determined by Google’s data sources, that user’s location is supposed to be reported as “(not set)”. In some instances, however, instead of reporting “(not set)” these data sources are reporting the center coordinates of the United States, which again, is Coffeyville, Kansas. As a result, any “Coffeyville” traffic should really be considered as “(not set)”. 

What can I do about this? 

For marketers targeting specific locations that aren’t anywhere near Kansas, the first step is to understand that you aren’t alone. If you see web traffic from a small town in Kansas, well outside your geographical target, don’t assume that your ad dollars are being wasted. 

If you are working with AUDIENCEX to manage your campaigns, there are steps that can be taken on the back end to help address this problem. The first step is talking to your account manager about it. We’ll do some digging and make a plan of attack with you.